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Winning, Losing, and being Lost in the game

Children go out to play.  They think up elaborate rules and use rocks as currency, sticks as elaborate holy blades.  They travel to the ends of every universe and back to slay foul demons or rescue fair maidens, have wondrous families and petty squabbles.  At the end of their adventures, they are rich with joy and the spoils of imaginary wars.  Yet when the dinner bell rings, they drop their vast wealth and return home, dirty and with only the clothes on their back (or sometimes not).  

Life is much like this.  At the end of the day, we are called home.  All we have gathered is forfeit, yet our hearts are overflowing with experience and growth.  Those are our only true possessions.  

One thing that bothers me is that this is being forgotten.  Nowadays when children play, the stakes have changed.  Sports must be won, yet there is always a loser.  Every experience has a cost, yet there are not enough imaginary stones to buy to buy a full bucket list.  The result is children and adults alike who are losing the ability to get lost in the moment.  I know I did.  When playing sports, I would constantly say I was sorry when I made a mistake, knowing that I was imparting a tax on others and taking away their purpose in playing, victory.  Even when we won, I felt bad that another underdog team was defeated by the mighty and overpowered Fireballs.  What I needed to do was simply enjoy myself and realize that mistakes are only there to teach us.  In order to do so, I needed to unlearn that if I messed up, it was bad.  

Yet that is the inane truth we are all taught.  This world seems so set on that value-- on value itself.  When we err, whether it be in communication or in work or on the field or in our judgements, we must remember that we are all learners and mistakes are part of life.  Otherwise, we begin seeing the emergence of people who lock themselves up in impenetrable towers-- not acting at all out of fear of making mistakes.  I saw this all too much as a teacher: "I'm no good at math, I don't even want to try."  I see this daily: "I am no good with words, that's why I remain quiet."  I cry when I hear this one: "I am just going to get hurt, I don't want to fall in love."  Falling in love is the greatest joy of this world!  Be it with what we do or who we are with, love is the great dinner bell that calls us all home.  Surrender to that love!  Start your own practice!  Travel!  Create your big project!  It doesn't matter how optimally we live and gain or lose and suffer, it is how much we love that matters most as we return home, covered in dirt and laughing as we recount our adventures.

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